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Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Fergie: Scholes first name on Moscow team sheet

Sir Alex Ferguson expressed his delight for Paul Scholes at finally getting the chance to end his Champions League pain.

Scholes was suspended for the famous final win over Bayern Munich in 1999 and, like Roy Keane, it looked as though the midfield maestro would end his career without getting another shot at European club football's biggest prize.

But the 32-year-old lashed home the 14th-minute winner to give United victory over Barcelona at Old Trafford, putting them through on aggregate and ensuring an all-English final in Moscow on May 21.

'It is great for Paul to be in the final,' said Ferguson. 'It was a fantastic goal.

'I don't think you can expect him to score 10 or 15 goals a season like he used to.

'But when he gets one like that tonight it makes up for the ones he can't score. It is a marvellous moment for him.'

It was only Scholes' second goal of the campaign and his first in Europe for over 18 months but it means so much to a club Ferguson is convinced has not punched its weight in Europe for too long.

And the Scot is content that while his side endured a few nervy moments, ultimately they deserved to go through.

'We needed a fantastic performance tonight - and we got one.

'I knew it was going to be a long night but I felt we could have scored three or four in the first half.

'It was a bit nervy in the second because they had to have a go at 1-0 down. But we got through that spell and in the last 15 minutes, I didn't think they made any chances.

'It was emotional at the end but you expect that at a semi-final. The important thing is that we are there and we deserve to be there.'

Ferguson is hoping there will be an immediate pay-off in terms of United's performance against West Ham on Saturday.

Having seen their lead at the top of the Premier League whittled down to goal difference following the defeat at Chelsea, the Red Devils needed a lift and the Scot received the perfect assistance.

'It is a big boost for Saturday,' he said.

'It won't do us any harm that's for sure. The energy in the team was excellent. The question is how do we get that back into them.'

Ferguson will hope to have Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney back, although both remain doubts.

However, for the moment his thoughts remain on Europe, or at least Stamford Bridge, where United's opponents - Chelsea or Liverpool - will be determined tomorrow night.

Ferguson will be in London to witness proceedings at first-hand.

And while he doesn't care who United get, he thinks supporters might have more of a chance of landing a ticket if they avoid Roman Abramovich's men.

'It would be a nice final against Liverpool but I really don't care,' he said.

'Maybe we will get more tickets against Liverpool because Roman Abramovich seems to have bought them all up.'




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